Ben Fox, who hopes to compete at the 2016 Olympic Games, visited his former teachers and current pupils at Westlea Primary at the end of May to tell his story and show off the Olympic torch he carried down Royal Wootton Bassett High Street on 23 May.
Ben, from Westlea, who was born with several organ defects and only one leg as a result of the rare Vater syndrome, was nominated to carry the torch as part of the Coca-Cola Future Flame relay by his father Andy, and was pictured on a series of huge sponsored billboards around Britain which featured celebrities such as Dizzie Rascal, The Wanted and Eliza Doolittle.
The poster was held up in a whole school assembly whilst Ben talked about making his way past the huge crowds cheering him on, carrying the torch in one hand, using a crutch in the other propelling him through the air. At a couple of points he appeared to stumble and was close to dropping the torch, but he told the children that he had to keep stopping to pull up his tracksuit bottoms as they were falling down.
His message to the children was: “I was in your situation in 2005 but I’ve learnt that if you really want to do something, don’t let anything stop you.”
Alex O’Brian, one of Ben’s teachers at Westlea, said: “We’re all so incredibly proud of Ben; he’s always been an amazing inspiration to us.”
Marla Carroll, co-organiser of special resource provision for physically disabled pupils at Westlea, agreed.
“Having a physical disability doesn’t stop you in your dreams in any way, shape or form. It was wonderful to take some of our children with and without disabilities to join members of Ben’s family cheer him on carrying the torch.”
Ben’s mum Carol said Ben was extremely proud to carry the torch in Royal Wootton Bassett. “It’s a very special place remembered for sad occasions in the past but Ben was very happy to be part of a joyous occasion.”
• Ben is a member of the Great Britain under 21 wheelchair basketball team and is aiming to compete at the Rio Olympics in 2016.